“The Flogging Song”

“The Flogging Song” 
A Portland drinking song 

The new limits the Portland City Council is imposing on bars, restaurants and other venues that offer both live music and booze are confusing, to say the least. [See “‘Footloose’ in Portland” April 5, 2007, in News.] 

For example, they say these places must be 100 feet apart in the Old Port and most of downtown, but is that walking or stumbling distance? If I’m in a quiet bistro and someone starts noodling at the piano, should I call police immediately or attempt to make a citizen’s arrest for the safety of my fellow diners? What if an unlicensed club offers live entertainment but no one is actually entertained? 

In an attempt to provide a handy guide to the new limits while simultaneously heaping upon them the mockery they so richly deserve, The Bollard offers the following drinking song, sung loosely to the tune of Popeye’s theme. 

We encourage local pub patrons to sing this song heartily, especially if any of the following people ever step foot in the bar: Mayor Nick Mavodones, City Councilors Jim Cloutier, Jim Cohen, Jill Duson, Ed Suslovic and Dr. Donna Carr, and Portland Police Chief Tim Burton. (Note: Though it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever encounter one of these characters in a Portland watering hole, if you sing this song in an establishment without the proper license, you may be subject to arrest.)

“The Flogging Song”

Lyrics: Chris Busby
Illustrations: Corey Pandolph

Well, there’ll… be no viola played down at Vignola,
No surf rockin’ at The Dry Dock.
And up at Bar Lola they got Coca-Cola
But ya can’t sing The Kinks on that block.

It’s one hundred steps to the barroom,
And nary a note can I hear.
The ghost of Neal Dow has arisen somehow,
Won’t somebody buy him a beer?

I hear at Katahdin a lady got trodden
When Spring Street let a DJ play.
If yer drinkin’ at Norm’s and ya start to hear horns
It must be a cop’s on the way.

Ray LaMontagne can gig all over Maine
But he can’t play a song in Sebago.
I once saw him live inside Five Fifty Five
And he also dines down at Sofritto.


One night all four Black Eyed Peas stopped into Rivalries
Saw their dear Lakers prevail.
Then one started rappin’, the people got clappin’,
They threw the two black ones in jail.

You better beware if you dine at Cinque Terre 
Should a rogue violinist appear.
And if you’re at Gritty’s and in comes J. Biddy
Everyone must hide their beer.


You can’t play a raga at Hi Bombay
Or whistle a tune in Tandoor.
Dance to the salsa at Mesa Verde
And yer ass’ll be twice as sore.

Some folks just don’t like booze and music.
They say, “Why the hell should I care?”
But they’ll all come down to the bad part of town
For the floggings in Monument Square.

Yes, they’ll all come down to the bad part of town
For the floggings in Monument Square!